top of page
  • Writer's pictureGirlWellTravelled

Whispers Among The Starred Sky

Joshua still hadn't said anything when he, too, turned the corner to walk towards their suite. And as they turned the corner, he stopped, stared back at her. She, too, stopped, eyes questioning. But she caught the answer when his eyes never blinked off the blazer she still had on her shoulders. 


She dashed back after Harry. He'd since made it into his suite, causing her to knock. 

Lemaruh, Lemaruh, Lemaruh.

Swinging the door open as if expecting her.

You know, you can always use that key I gave you. 
Mr Langdon... 

She paused, refrained from finishing her sentence. Instead, she removed his jacket. 

'Thank you.' She said and handed his jacket to him. Thank you, she said again, and for earlier, she took her hand back and left him standing in his doorway. She'd reached the end of his corridor and returned to where she'd left Josh but was yet to hear Harry's door click close. Josh, however, had walked on and stood inside their suite, holding their door open. She paused, feeling a little awkward about wearing another man's jacket. All be it an honest mistake. Both Joshua and Harry had worn navy blue jackets, (Josh to match her dress). But at the dinner party, someone had put Harry's jacket on the back of her chair with her handbag.

Back at their suite's door, no one or anything moved except for the cold air from the aircon rushing past them. Hands hugged her front again and possibly for far too long, leaving Josh to leave the door open and walk away to the bedroom.

Now inside the suite, she closed the door, too overwhelmed by the evening to follow him. Instead, she sat huddled over herself in the living room, reconfiguring what she'd planned to say. Josh crossing paths with her in Harry's presence like that, as innocent as that was, was an attrition she hadn't accounted for. 

His feet appeared under her nose. Looked up. He stood there, bathrobe in hand. A startled Lemara stood up to where he put the robe over her. She said, Thank you, adjusting her arms into the robe to wrap in some warmth, her low-scooped back and spaghetti strap dress did not afford her. Again, he walked away, but this time, it was to the temperature gauge on the wall, and he turned it up. 

Josh, can we talk?

He was on his way back to the bedroom when she'd said that. But he turned and sat, arms outstretched across the top of the sofa perpendicular to where she stood, staring up at her. That countenance of his gave nothing away of what he felt or thought. He'd still not spoken when she finally sat down, refusing to break the impasse. 


He didn't budge. He didn't blink. Simply sat there with his bottom lip folded in. If Lemara was awaiting his help finishing her sentence as he sometimes did, he was not forthcoming. But what was he to finish when she herself was unsure of what she was saying. She didn't know how to continue her sentence. The words were there. Like the French, she learned part of the way through secondary and then dropped. Well, some of them. But what was there, she knew not how to string them together. Instead, she sat crouched over her knees, hands steepling her forehead.

Josh, I am going to admit to being silly, foolhardy even.
What else are you admitting to? 

Oh gawd does he know? She'd winced at his question, quickly made eye contact and looked away again. There was nothing on that face she could read. Neither did she have the nerve to look back at him but felt his stare on. He still hadn't said much else, leaving her to send herself into whatever jail she had opened the door to with that statement.

Lemara, is that the end of that statement? 

When for some time, she had not spoken.

No, not entirely.
So what are you saying?
Josh, I am saying that possibly you and I'. She paused.
You and I, what? He pressed. 

The words at the tip of her tongue but her lips refrained from spitting them out. 

I can't go through with this engagement.
Sorry, what? Deadpanned.

Her being bore the full thwocks of those two words, he batted back at her as he sat forward. And now that those words had finally left her lips, she became a blubbering mess.

Lemara, I'm gonna need you to stop with the tears and talk to me because I am not fully understanding what you're saying. Where is this coming from?  
I don't know.
You don't know.

Unlike Joshua, very much unlike Josh, his voice was raised now.

Em, what kind of answer is that? I'm going to need you to make this make sense. Is it something I've done? Something I didn't do?  
Josh, it's not you.

Shook her head while she said that but could not look at him. 

So if it's not me, what does that mean? Baby, you and I don't struggle with communication. OK, the last few days were the first notch on the board, but apart from that, we don't. We don't struggle for money. And we definitely, most definitely do not struggle with intimacy and that's even after you moved out, so help me understand where this is coming from?

Hands covered her face. A little while ago, her plan sounded okay in her head. But now that she'd started to execute it, it was all round wrong. Too guilt-ridden to look at him. The truth was what she wanted to tell but that truth didn't seem to make sense anymore. That silence sat between them for a little. 

Em. He started again, massaging the space between his eyes. What is going on, please? 

Still, she said nothing. 

Lemara, this is where I need you to unbottle those thoughts of yours and speak. 

Apart from Josh's audible exhale of lost patience, no one said a word then.  

Em, is it to do with your sister? Do you need to speak to someone, anyone at all, about what happened with Lia?'

His tone had gone soft. He'd asked her that before and she declined. It was a pointless exercise in her view because she was not ready to discuss it. Discussing it would make it real. 

No. She finally said.
No, what? What is no?
It's none of those things.
It's. None. Of. Those. Things.

He sounded out those words, sounding as exhausted as she was.

OK, Em, between the time you and I got engaged and just now, what has happened?

He sounded that out, too.

Ok, so when I asked you to marry me in front of all those people, and you got down next to me on your knees in tears and said yes. Did you not mean it? 

He was distraught now.

No. I mean, Yes.

She'd looked at him to deliver that answer because that much was true. He looked at her, his face a question.

Tell you what... (looking at his watch) it's gone 2 in the morning. Let's sleep on this. Let's discuss it after we've had some sleep. Better still when we get back to London.
I've slept on it.
You've, you've slept on it?

One hand crossed his front as he sat back in the chair. The fingers of the other readopted playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto across his forehead. The room went quiet. A silence only broken by life leaving his body in a notable exhale.

When you left this morning, where did you go?' Frustration was on the march now.
To my room.
Lemara, this is your room. He shot back. 
To the other room. She quickly corrected.
And the rest of the day?
That's where I've been all day until not so long ago when you saw me. I came here first and was going to find you when we bumped into each other.

His entire tone had changed at the top of that next set of questions, causing her to look up to finally face him. 

Em, I recommend we speak to someone because you've been bottling this and it can't be very good for you. Even you must admit that this is not making sense? You've done your best to avoid talking about it at all costs. You've said absolutely nothing to me. And I know you haven't spoken with Julia. As if it didn't happen. As if in denial, you ploughed on arranging the funeral like a funeral planner. It's OK to be mad. It's OK to be upset. No one will think any less of you. Certainly not me. 

She was certainly angry and upset about it all. Worst, she carried the guilt of it. 'Josh, I can't...' She started to say and then stopped. He looked at her eye on.

Can I tell you something? Do you remember you were making that cheesecake your sister likes to make last week, and I went out and got you soft cheese? Do you know you actually had soft cheese? I watched you put the entire lump of soft cheese in the bin and put the empty tub back in the fridge. Retraced your steps to the fridge for the tub and then declared you forgot to buy the cheese. You did buy the cheese. You'd just thrown it in the bin. And once I realised what was happening, I covered it over in the bin so you wouldn't see it.
Now, does that strike you as you? Come on, it's 2 in the morning. It's been a long day; let's get some sleep. Besides, you and I are yet to sleep in that bed.

Tiredness was truly setting in. She acknowledged and dipped her head in her hand to massage it.

You go; I'll sit here for a bit. 

He left. The TV in the bedroom went on shortly after. Lemara got up, but it was to the verandah she went, where she sat with arms wrapped around her knees that buried her face, stifling tears. The chilly air wrapped her but none of that bothered her. She'd come out on this cruise in memory of her sister. Signed off her relationship without telling the other party in the relationship. Struck a match with Harry and started a fire. A fire that would now see her in the dumpster should it ever be found out. Not even her sister would be on board with this dumpster fire.

He had near four years to propose. Four freaking years of a clean driving licence. Instead, he chose then when she'd gone and fucked off. She looked at the ring on her finger. A classic cushion-cut engagement ring with tapered baguette side stones. He didn't even need her help to get that right. Only said he noticed she'd always make a beeline for the cushion cut stones.

She pursed her lips at that. 


Her transgression was driving her mad. How does she continue in this engagement knowing what she did? But then, how can she tell him? Joshua did not deserve any of those situations. Stuck between a rock and a hard, hard place, she tipped her head back. That starved her tears and frustration while she searched the stars because somebody up there was having a laugh at her expense. Was this how it was supposed to go? Lia, I know your up there in those stars somewhere, whisper something my way.

A star shot across the sky but the balcony door opened, stealing her attention.

Em, it's cold out; why don't you come in?
I will. I just want to stay here a little bit.

He paused, then came out, closed the glass door.

Do you want some company? 

Taking a seat on the chair next to her and looked in the direction of where she looked.

What are we doing?
Searching the stars?
Searching. The. Stars. He'd said that in a sing-song. Searching the stars, for?

She had paused, composed herself for that response. Joshua swung his right hand over and she placed hers in his. He gently squeezed it. 

She's up there among the stars for sure.' He said.

Moments slipped past into minutes, into the witching hours. 

Em, it's a little cold out here. Let's go in.
I'll stay out a little longer. 

Looking from him to the starred sky. He'd stood up but paused. 'I tell you what.' 

And he disappeared back inside the suite. There was what sounded like a one-sided conversation but she took no interest. But shortly after, the doorbell rang. And when she heard no movement from Josh, got up to get the door, but Joshua was making his way to it. She looked at him to say what's going on. He replied it was OK. He'll get it. So she let him.

Instead of returning to the verandah, she continued to the bathroom. Offloaded some of the caffeine and champagne she had taken on earlier. And, too, the figure-skimming, slinky dress she wore all evening. 

But now, silhouettes moving around the verandah caught interest. Robed again but layered over a sleep shirt, came out to see Joshua and their butler Gerard overflowing with duvets and pillows over the empty whirlpool tub.

What's happening? The sight of the two of them busying themselves puzzled that question.

Gerard's only response was to tell her good morning. Joshua's response however was to tell her he's bringing the bed outside.

Hands went over a gobsmacked mouth as she reached the tub where he and Gerard had nearly finished layering the empty tub with duvets and pillows.

I'm happy to stay out here with you. What I am not happy to do, is freeze my balls off.

She let out a little chuckle.

So if we are going to stay out, let's at least be warm and comfortable. How about that?

Looking from the tub he and Gerard just finished to her, pleased with himself. And she had to agree. He'd walked Gerard back out of the suite and double-click the door shut.

OK, you. Let's test out this bed and search out these stars. Music? 

She nodded.


Nodded again as he hit the play button for the dock he'd brought out, having since returned to the verandah and got in the tub. Patted his left shoulder for where he wanted her to rest her head. She remained glued to the spot she stood in but managed to produce a small smile on the overtones of Maxwell's The Urban Theme. An album they both liked and listened to. 

She didn't deserve... Oh, but those were Eleanor's exact words to her years ago when her son wasn't in earshot. And now Eleanor might be on the winning side of her words.

Lying there next to him, head on his shoulder, felt right. When did it ever not? She might have moved out in a fit of disappointment but when did she fall out of love with him? She hadn't. Nothing about their relationship warranted what she did. Her stomach knotted and she sucked sharp on some air.

Found something? Interrupting the susurration of the waves below.
Not yet. You? Her reply. 
No, but be sure to tell me when you do.

Silence slipped between them again, the waves' susurration continued alongside Maxwell's 'Lonely is the Only Company' playing. In truth, she stopped searching those blasted stars because her mind had trailed to growing up in the Caribbean. Those nights when she'd stayed out later than she was allowed, Lia would wait up to let her in. Lia always did. She never told on her but would give her her version of their mother's lecture. She'd do anything for one of those lectures now. And the tears rolled. Rolled unto Josh's shoulders.


And when she didn't answer, he tried turning to see her face.

I wasn't there.
You weren't wh... Baby, I know.
I wasn't there, Josh. Becoming a blubbering mess.
I wasn't there when she died. 
I know you would have preferred that you were there.
She was always there for me but when she needed me the most, I wasn't there. She was all alone when she died. What kind of sister does that make me?
Baby, I know Lia and I know she'd never hold that against you.
Josh, the only reason she was on that road in the first place was to come see me. If I'd not moved to the apartment, she'd never had to be driving on that road. 
Em, you don't know that.
But I do. It was because of me.' Blubbering away. 'And when she died, I wasn't even there.'

Pile drove a finger and then her fist into his chest with every word. Her face followed, buried into the space of his chest she had pile driven. And when he held her, she tried pulling away, but he only held her closer. Squeezed her. Everything she had held back, the guilt, the frustration, the pain, the bottled tears for Lia, it all came out then. She sobbed, tears streaming down her face and into Josh's chest.

It's soo hard not to be able to call her Josh. It's so hard not to be able to speak to her and it's killing me. And I don't want to do this anymore. It doesn't feel right.
I know but I'm going to hold you; I'm never letting you go and we'll work through this together.

She only cried more. 

Baby, it's never easy losing someone you love. And I know you love your sister and miss her a lot, but just know she is here. And know that she looks down on you, smiling and happy for you. He kissed her forehead and left his lips there while she sobbed. Plus, it isn't what Lia would want for you.

Recent Posts

See All
Shadow on Concrete Wall
bottom of page